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Call 855-882-6229 to tell your senators to vote NO on Betsy DeVos
By Amanda Litvinov
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee voted this week—12-11 along party lines—to advance the nomination of Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education to the full Senate.
But earlier today Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced that they will vote against DeVos’s confirmation, citing concerns about her record and her basic understanding of public schools.
Educators have led the call to reject DeVos, articulating the potential threats her privatization agenda poses to students across the country. Senators have received more than 1 million emails and 50,000 phone calls opposing DeVos’s nomination. Clearly, some are listening.
You can help keep the pressure on. Pick up the phone today. Call 855-882-6229 to tell your senators to vote NO on Betsy DeVos!
Here are some of the reasons that educators are fighting against the Trump-DeVos agenda, in their own words:
I’ve taught since 1982 in a poor county, where 50 percent of students receive free lunch. We have one middle school and one high school, and an uncertified private school in our county. School choice? There is no choice here, or in thousands of rural counties. The public schools educate every child and while not every child goes on to college, those who do go do exceptionally well. We must be concerned with the welfare of all children, not just a few.
–Barbara Wilson, teacher, Virginia
I teach at a diverse special education preschool and worry about the future for my three, four, and five year olds. Research shows that early intervention works, and I have seen this first hand in my 26 years of teaching. Special education has never been fully funded, and I fear unqualified Betsy DeVos is out to weaken our public schools further and perhaps destroy them. Her agenda is clear: channel taxpayer dollars to unregulated religious private and for profit charter schools and destroy the remaining working class teacher unions. The problem with the “choice” reform is that it is exclusive, it does not include ALL children. ALL of our children need a free appropriate public education!
–Suzanne Hall-Witney, teacher, California
If the goal is to dismantle not only the reality but the entire premise of public education, then privatization is the best way to accomplish that. Once public education is gone, then who will get educated? Only those who our leaders deem worthy. That will be the end of our democratic republic, which may be the goal of privatization champions.
–Cathy Royce, retired teacher, Colorado
Nearly 90 percent of U.S. students attend public schools, and the Secretary of Education needs to be supportive of public education. We welcome everyone into our classrooms, whether they are rich, poor, gifted, or special needs, and regardless of their family background. When for-profit charter schools take money from already underfunded public schools, our students suffer. Their schools can’t afford textbooks, computers, or desks. Teachers lose their jobs, making the teacher-student ratio rise for students who need more attention, not less.
DeVos clearly does not understand what is needed to support public schools. Instead she would tear them down.
–Carol Crisp, special education teacher, Tennessee
I am a long-time Republican, and I have been in public education for 20 years. My students come from all different backgrounds–some rich, some poor, and many cultures. It should be our country’s paramount duty to continue educating children via public education. Vouchers and charter schools are not the answer, as they take away public education dollars. Why hurt the many to benefit just a few? With increased state funding and federal dollars used to fund well-researched programs, we can benefit ALL children in the public school system.
–Michelle Houle, teacher, Washington